How to Remove Multiple Windows 10, 8.1 Installs

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In this guide, we’ll talk about an annoying issues that one of our readers has reported. Other users have also been complaining about the same problem on the Microsoft Community forums. They want to know how to remove multiple Windows 10, Windows 8.1 installs on a single machineHere’s our answer.

I thought that I was doing a clean install of Windows 8 on my Dell XT2, but now I have 2 copies of Windows 8 on my machine; one of which is corrupt. How do I remove one? Here are the details: – Dell XT2 – Started with WinXP-tablet, 64GB SSD, not room for 2x operating systems. – Did a clean install of Win8, was very painful due to driver issues and don’t want to do again if I can avoid it! – Ran well for 2 years, wanted to do a clean install and upgrade to 8.1 so that I can give to a friend. – Ran installer off of CD, 1st time it didn’t seem to complete and was running strangely. Re-ran and it completed normally (i.e. made it through preferences setup) – Now when I reboot, it asks me which copy of Windows 8 I want to run. #1 works fine but If I choose #2, I’m told that it is corrupt. – I also lost about 15GB of disk space

Delete multiple Windows 10 installations

This is a very good question, and here are the steps needed to take in order solve this problem:

  • Press Windows + X and after that click System
  • Now, go ahead and click on Advanced System Settingsadvanced system settings windows 10
  • Under Advance tab, and then select Start up and Recovery, and after that click on Settingsstartup recovery settings
  • Under the System Startup, you will now to click in the Default Operating System and from there select Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, depending on your OS version.
  • Now go ahead and uncheck the ‘Time to display list of operating systems

Time to display list of operating systems

Here’s how to do if the other copy of Windows 10, 8.1 is installed on a partition, just follow the steps from below:

  • Press Windows key + X, and then click Disk Management
  • Now, expand Disk Management and after that, select the Recovery Partition
  • Now, right click it, and then select ‘Format‘ after which you will receive a Warning dialog
  • Now, select your file system option, and the default which is NTFS

— RELATED: Fix: ‘Windows installation has failed’ Windows 10 upgrade error

After the formatting process is complete, the drive will be displayed as a ‘Logical Drive’ in Disk Management.

  • You now need to right click the ‘Logical Drive’ in Disk Management, and then choose ‘Delete Volume’; select ‘Yes’ when the warning dialog appears
  • The Volume you deleted will now appear as ‘Free space’
  • Right click the Free space partition, and click Delete, click Yes on the Disk Management warning that appears.

Now follow the instructions from below:

The volume will now appear as Unallocated. (good stuff). Our next step is to merge back that unallocated free space with the system partition. Right click the System volume and click the ‘Extend Volume’ option on the contextual menu, click ‘Yes’ when the warning appears. A wizard will now begin that will guide through the steps to merge back the unallocated space with your system partition. The wizard provides a simple procedure to merge back the unallocated space with the system drive. Once you have selected the space, click Next, at the end of the wizard, you will see the amount allocated.

Speaking of deleting unnecessary Windows OS installs, don’t forget to delete the files and folders from the Softwaredistribution folder as well. 

  1. Go to This PC > Open the partition where you installed Windows on
  2. Go to Windows folder > locate the Softwaredistribution folder
  3. Open sub-folder Download > delete everything from it.

The Download folder contains temporary update files and removing them helps you to free up disk space.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.

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